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Ohio State Buckeyes football team competes as part of the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, representing Ohio State University in the East Division of the Big Ten Conference. Ohio State has played their home games at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio since 1922. [2] The Buckeyes are recognized by the university and NCAA as having won eight national championships[3] along with 39 conference championships (including 37 Big Ten titles), seven division championships, 10 undefeated seasons, and six perfect seasons (no losses or ties). As of 2017, the football program is valued at $1.5 billion,[4] the highest valuation of any such program in the country.[5]

Ohio State Buckeyes football
2019 Ohio State Buckeyes football team
Ohio State Buckeyes logo.svg
First season1890
Athletic directorGene Smith
Head coachRyan Day
1st season, 7–0 (1.000)
Other staff Kevin Wilson (OC/TEs)
Greg Mattison (DC)
Jeff Hafley (DC/DB)
StadiumOhio Stadium
(Capacity: 104,944)
Year built1922
Field surfaceFieldTurf
LocationColumbus, Ohio
ConferenceBig Ten Conference
All-time record915–325–53 (.728)
Bowl record24–25 (.490)
Playoff appearances2 (2014, 2016)
Playoff record2–1 (.667)
Claimed nat'l titles8
(1942, 1954, 1957, 1961, 1968, 1970, 2002, 2014)
Conference titles39
(2 OAC, 37 Big Ten)
Division titles7
(2 Leaders, 5 East)
RivalriesMichigan (rivalry)
Penn State (rivalry)
Illinois (rivalry)
Heisman winners7
Consensus All-Americans85
ColorsScarlet and Gray[1]
Fight songCarmen Ohio (Alma Mater)
Across the Field and Buckeye Battle Cry
MascotBrutus Buckeye
Marching bandThe Ohio State University Marching Band

The first Ohio State game was a 20–14 victory over Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio, on May 3, 1890. The team was a football independent from 1890 to 1901 before joining the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) as a charter member in 1902.[3] The Buckeyes won two conference championships while members of the OAC and in 1912 became members of the Big Ten Conference.[6]

Ohio State won their first national championship in 1942 under head coach Paul Brown.[3] Following World War II, Ohio State saw sparse success on the football field with three separate coaches and in 1951 hired Woody Hayes to coach the team. Under Hayes, Ohio State won over 200 games, 13 Big Ten championships and five national championships (1954, 1957, 1961, 1968, and 1970), and had four Rose Bowl wins in eight appearances.[3] Following Hayes' dismissal in 1978, Earle Bruce and later John Cooper coached the team to a combined seven conference championships between them. Jim Tressel was hired as head coach in 2001 and led Ohio State to its seventh national championship in 2002.[7] Under Tressel, Ohio State won seven Big Ten championships and appeared in eight Bowl Championship Series (BCS) games, winning five of them. In November 2011, Urban Meyer became head coach.[8] Under Meyer, the team went 12–0 in his first season and set a school record with 24 consecutive victories, won three Big Ten championships (2014, 2017, and 2018), and won the first College Football Playoff National Championship in 2014.[9][10]



Beginnings (1890–1933)Edit

After early attempts at forming a team in 1886 (led by future Nebraska governor Chester Hardy Aldrich) and 1887, football was ultimately established at the university in 1890. On the site of the first OSU game, on the campus of Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio, on May 3, 1890, the Delaware County Historical Society has set an historical marker.[11]

Some histories of Ohio State football credit George Cole, an undergraduate, and Alexander S. Lilley with introducing the sport to the campus. More recent research has challenged that claim, stating that George Cole persuaded Lilley to coach the football team during its first full season that fall.[11]

OSU's first home game took place at 2:30 p.m. on November 1, 1890. They played the University of Wooster on the site that was then called Recreation Park. Just east of historic German Village, the park occupied the north side of Schiller (now Whittier), between Ebner and Jaeger, in what is now Schumacher Place. OSU lost the game, 64–0.

Over the next eight years, under a number of coaches, the team played to a cumulative record of 31 wins, 39 losses, and 2 ties. The first game against the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, was a 34–0 loss in 1897, a year that saw the low point in Buckeye football history with a 1–7–1 record. Jack Ryder was Ohio State's first paid coach, earning $150 per season, and lost his first game, against Oberlin College and John Heisman, on October 15, 1892.[12]

In 1899 the university hired John Eckstorm to bring professional coaching skills to the program and immediately went undefeated.[13] In 1901, however, center John Segrist was fatally injured in a game against Western Reserve University and the continuation of football at Ohio State was in serious question. Although the school's athletic board let the team decide its future, Eckstorm resigned.[14] In 1912 football underwent a number of developments that included joining the Western Conference, making football as part of a new Department of Athletics, and hiring Lynn W. St. John to be athletic director.

Chic Harley attended East High in Columbus and was one of the greatest players to attend an Ohio high school. He passed, ran, received, punted, kicked and played defense. Harley came to Ohio State in 1916 and Columbus fans instantly fell in love with the Chic. Harley and the Buckeyes won the very first Big Ten championship in school history in 1916 when the Buckeyes finished 7–0. He would repeat in 1917 finishing 8–0–1, giving the Buckeyes a second outright title. In 1918, he left to be a pilot in the air force for World War I. With Harley's return in 1919, the Buckeyes would only lose one game—to Illinois. Chic Harley left OSU with a career record of 22–1–1. At the time, OSU played at the small Ohio Field and Harley brought such record crowds it became necessary to open Ohio Stadium in 1922. The stadium was built entirely on fan donations and several stadium drives around the city where Harley would often appear. In 1951, when the College Football Hall of Fame opened, Harley was inducted as an inaugural member.

Ohio State's very first rival was Kenyon College, a small liberal arts college in Gambier, roughly 50 miles to the northeast. The Buckeyes first played them in their first season in 1890 on Nov 27, Kenyon won the first two meetings; however, Ohio State won 15 in a row and the rivalry diminished. Kenyon made it their season goal to defeat OSU. After the Bucks joined the Big Ten they stopped playing Kenyon. The all-time record stands at 18–6, OSU.

Francis Schmidt (1934–1940)Edit

In hiring Francis Schmidt in March 1934 to coach its football team, Ohio State moved its program to a "big-time" level of competition. Schmidt was a well-established coach and an acknowledged offensive innovator. His offensive schemes were a "wide-open" style called "razzle-dazzle" and led him to be the first Buckeye football coach granted a multi-year contract. Schmidt's first four seasons saw victories over archrival Michigan, all by shut-out. The 1935 squad went 7–1, its sole loss was to Notre Dame, 18–13, in the first contest between the programs. However Schmidt's remaining seasons were less successful, except in 1939 when the Buckeyes won the Big Ten championship, and his popularity faded for a number of reasons.[15] On December 17, 1940, he resigned.

Paul Brown (1941–1943)Edit

Paul Brown (shown here as head coach of the Cleveland Browns) – who led the Buckeyes to their first national championship in 1942.

Ohio State hired the coach of Massillon Washington High School football team, Paul Brown, to succeed Schmidt. Brown's Tigers had just won their sixth straight state championship. Brown immediately changed Ohio State's style of offense, planned and organized his program in great detail, and delegated to his assistant coaches using highly structured practices. In 1942, Ohio State lost 22 veteran players to military service as the United States joined World War II, and with a team of mostly sophomores went on to lose only once in winning its first national championship.

Carroll Widdoes (1944–1945), Paul Bixler (1946) and Wes Fesler (1947–1950)Edit

Brown accepted a commission in the United States Navy in 1944 and directed his assistant Carroll Widdoes to head the team in his absence. The 1944 team fielded 31 freshmen but went undefeated and untied, including a victory over Paul Brown's Great Lakes Navy team. Ohio State finished second in the national rankings behind Army and Les Horvath became the first Buckeye to be awarded the Heisman Trophy. Also prominent on the 1942–44 teams was the first Buckeye African American star, Bill Willis.

Brown chose not to return to Ohio State after the war, going into professional football instead. Widdoes, despite having the highest two-year winning percentage of any Buckeye coach, asked to return to an assistant's position. Offensive coordinator Paul Bixler and Widdoes switched positions, and Bixler endured a mediocre 4–3–2 season. Bixler resigned and talk of Ohio State being a "graveyard of coaches" became commonplace, a reputation that lingered for decades.[16]

Wes Fesler became head coach in 1947 but finished last in the Big Ten for the only time in team history. Ohio State improved greatly in 1948, winning 6 and losing 3, then in 1949 enjoyed a successful season due to the play of sophomore Vic Janowicz. Ohio State received the Rose Bowl invitation, where they came from behind to defeat California. In 1950 Fesler, rumored to be resigning because of pressures associated with the position and abuse of his family by anonymous critics, returned to coach the Buckeyes, who won six games in a row to move into the top ranking in the AP poll. However, the season fell apart as the Buckeyes lost to Michigan during a blizzard, a game that came to be known as the "Snow Bowl". Two weeks later, citing concerns about his health and family, Fesler resigned.

Woody Hayes era (1951–1978)Edit

Wayne Woodrow "Woody" Hayes beat out Paul Brown,[17] among others, to be named head coach on February 18, 1951. He instituted a demanding practice regimen and was both aggressive and vocal in enforcing it, alienating many players accustomed to Fesler's laid-back style. The 1951 Buckeyes won 4, lost 3, and tied 2, leaving many to question the ability of the new coach. In 1952 the team improved to 6–3, and recorded their first victory over Michigan in eight years, but after a 1953 loss to Michigan, critics called for the replacement of Hayes.

In 1954 the Buckeyes were picked to finish no higher than 10th in the Big Ten. Hayes, however, had the talents of Howard "Hopalong" Cassady, and a historic goal-line stand against Michigan propelled Ohio State to a perfect season. Hayes led the powerhouse Buckeyes to a shared national championship (his first and the team's second). In 1955 the team again won the Big Ten, set an attendance record, and won in Ann Arbor for the first time in 18 years, while Hopalong Cassady was securing the Heisman Trophy. Ohio State passed only three times against Michigan (the sole reception was the only completion in the final three games of the year), leading to characterization of Hayes' style of offensive play as "three yards and a cloud of dust".

In a 1955 article in Sports Illustrated, Hayes admitted making small personal loans to financially needy players.[18] The article resulted in a furor over possible violations of NCAA rules, and the faculty council, followed by the Big Ten and NCAA, conducted lengthy investigations. Big Ten Commissioner Kenneth "Tug" Wilson found Hayes and the program guilty of violations and placed it on a year's probation in 1956. In 1957 Ohio State won all of its remaining games after an opening loss to claim the Big Ten championship, win the Rose Bowl over Oregon, and share a national title with Auburn, for which Hayes was named Coach of the Year.

In 1961 the team went undefeated to be named national champions by the FWAA but a growing conflict between academics and athletics over Ohio State's reputation as a "football school" resulted in a faculty council vote to decline an invitation to the Rose Bowl, resulting in much public protest and debate.[19] Over the next 6 seasons Ohio State finished no higher than 2nd, and had a losing season in 1966, and public speculation that Hayes would be replaced as coach grew to its highest point since 1953.

In 1968 Ohio State defeated the number one-ranked Purdue Boilermakers and continued to an undefeated season including a 50–14 rout of Michigan and a Rose Bowl victory over the USC Trojans that resulted in the national championship. The Class of 1970 became known as the "super sophomores" in 1968, and might have gone on to three consecutive national championships except for what may have been the most bitter loss in Buckeye history. The winning streak reached 22 games as Ohio State traveled to Michigan. The Buckeyes were 17-point favorites but directed by first-year coach Bo Schembechler, Michigan shocked the Buckeyes in a 24–12 upset.

The 1969 loss to Michigan initiated what came to be known as "The Ten Year War", in which the rivalry, which pitted some of OSU's and UM's strongest teams ever, rose to the uppermost level of all sports and the competition between Schembechler and Hayes became legendary.[20] Four times between 1970 and 1975, Ohio State and Michigan were both ranked in the top five of the AP Poll before their matchup. The Wolverines entered every game during those years undefeated and won only once, a 10–7 victory in Ann Arbor on November 20, 1971.

Both teams used the annual game as motivation for entire seasons and after the initial win by Michigan, played dead even at four wins and a tie apiece. Hayes had the upper hand during the first part of the war, in which Ohio State won the conference championship and went to the Rose Bowl four straight years, while Michigan won the final three. It was also an era in which through television Ohio State football again came to the forefront of national attention.

Hayes set the tone in spring practice in 1970, placing a rug at the entrance to the Buckeye dressing room emblazoned with the words: "1969 MICH 24 OSU 12 — 1970 MICH:__ OSU:__" as a constant reminder of their objective.[21] The "super sophomores", now seniors, used a strong fullback-oriented offense to smash their way through the season undefeated, struggling only with Purdue the week before the Michigan game. The return match in Columbus found both teams undefeated and untied, a "first" in the history of the rivalry, with Michigan ranked fourth and Ohio State fifth. Ohio State combined a powerful defense that held Michigan to only 37 yards rushing, a rushing offense employing two tight ends as blockers, and a 26-yard touchdown pass from Kern to Bruce Jankowski to win 20–9. The Buckeyes returned to the Rose Bowl to be upset by Stanford 27–17. The "super sophomores" had garnered a record of 27–2, the best winning percentage of any three-year period in team history, and won or shared the Big Ten title all three years. The National Football Foundation named Ohio State its national champion for 1970.

1971 was less successful than the preceding seasons, but the middle four years of the 10-year war saw the greatest success for Hayes against Michigan, although the teams fell short of repeating their 1968 national championship. Archie Griffin began his college football career in 1972, taking advantage of new NCAA eligibility rules that allowed freshmen to compete at the varsity level. In his second game, sent in against North Carolina late in the first quarter, Griffin set a new Buckeye rushing record with 239 yards and led the team in rushing for the season with 867.

Former Buckeyes RB Archie Griffin, the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner in college football history (1974–75)

The following season Hayes installed an I-formation attack with Griffin at tailback and fellow sophomore Cornelius Greene at quarterback. The Buckeyes went undefeated with a powerful offense and equally impenetrable defense, achieving an average margin of victory of 31 points a game. The only blemish on their record was a 10–10 tie with Michigan after both teams had entered the game unbeaten. (The tie was more galling for the Wolverines, however, as the Big Ten selected Ohio State to represent the conference in the Rose Bowl.) Despite soundly defeating defending national champion USC, however, the tie with Michigan resulted in the Buckeyes finishing second to Notre Dame in the final AP rankings. Griffin, Randy Gradishar, Van DeCree, and John Hicks were named All-Americans; Hicks, an offensive tackle, not only won both the Outland and Lombardi Trophies, but placed second in the Heisman Trophy competition.

1974 and 1975 were seasons of both elation and frustration. The Buckeyes twice more defeated Michigan and went to two Rose Bowls, but lost both. The 1974 team seemed bound for another national championship when it was derailed by a loss to unranked Michigan State (Ohio State lost only twice in the regular season during Griffin's 4-year career, both to the Spartans), and the next year the #1-ranked Bucks lost 23–10 to 11th-ranked UCLA in the 1976 Rose Bowl. In all the Buckeyes were 40–5–1 from 1972–75, winning the Big Ten all four years and never losing to Michigan, but each loss and the tie were crucial in failing to win another championship. Archie Griffin, however, received the Heisman Trophy for both years, off-setting much of the frustration, and amassed 5,589 yards in his career.[citation needed]

The falloff in success of Hayes' last three years was not great. His teams forged records of 9–2–1, 9–3, and 7–4–1, and made bowl appearances in all three years (the rules had changed to allow appearances in other than the Rose Bowl). However frustrations in losing three straight years to Michigan, and other factors, resulted in growing criticism of Hayes and his methods, particularly his on-the-field fits of temper. Even so, his downfall was sudden and shocking when near the end of the nationally televised Gator Bowl, Hayes punched Clemson middle guard Charlie Bauman after Bauman intercepted a pass to kill Ohio State's last chance to win. Hayes was fired after the game by Ohio State president Harold Enarson and athletic director Hugh Hindman.[citation needed]

Earle Bruce (1979–1987)Edit

Hayes was replaced by a former protégé, Earle Bruce. Bruce inherited a strong team led by sophomore quarterback Art Schlichter but that had also lost eleven starters, and the 1979 squad exceeded pre-season expectations, ending the 3-year loss drought against Michigan and going to the Rose Bowl with an opportunity once again to be national champions. The Buckeyes lost both by a single point, 17–16, but Bruce was named Coach of the Year. His success was hailed by those in the media who saw it as a rebuke of Hayes and the start of a "new era".[22]

1980, however, saw the start of a trend that eventually brought criticism to Bruce, when Ohio State finished with a 9–3 record, the first of six consecutive years at 9–3. Though each of these seasons, and the 10–3 season that followed them, culminated in a bowl game, Ohio State did not appear to be any closer to a national championship than during the end of the Hayes era. Bruce's teams were not without impact players, however. All-Americans and future National Football League stars included Keith Byars, Cris Carter, Chris Spielman, John Frank, Jim Lachey, Tom Tupa, Marcus Marek, and Pepper Johnson. His program was also known for the number of notable assistant coaches on staff, including Jim Tressel, Glen Mason, Pete Carroll, Nick Saban, Urban Meyer and Dom Capers.

The 1980 team was selected as the top-ranked team of the pre-season AP poll and opened the season with four games at home, but were shocked in the fourth game by UCLA, shut out 17–0. The team rebounded to win its next six easily, but then were shut down by a ball-control Michigan team that allowed the Buckeyes only 23 minutes with the ball, then lost again to Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl.

In 1981, Ohio State opened strong, including a victory at Stanford in which senior Art Schlichter out-dueled John Elway, but then lost back-to-back games to Florida State and Wisconsin (their first victory over the Buckeyes in 22 games). The Buckeyes continued to struggle on defense, losing a third time, at Minnesota. Victories over Michigan to gain a share of the Big Ten championship and over Navy in the Liberty Bowl salvaged the season.

For the first time since 1922 the Buckeyes lost three in a row in Ohio Stadium in 1982, including rematches with Stanford and Florida State, and for the second year in a row to Wisconsin, but then won seven straight, the last over BYU in the Holiday Bowl. Sophomore running back Keith Byars had a stand-out season in 1983, rushing for 1,199 yards, and Ohio State defeated the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman, but three losses in conference meant a 4th-place finish. 1984 witnessed what Bruce called "the greatest comeback after the worst start" when Ohio State fell behind Illinois 24–0 at home but roared back on 274 yards rushing and five touchdowns by Byars to win 45–38. Ohio State also defeated Michigan to win an outright Big Ten championship. Byars led the nation in rushing and scoring but finished second in Heisman balloting.

Byars broke his toe just prior to the start of the 1985 season, ending his Heisman hopes and seriously handicapping the Buckeye attack. He returned against Purdue with Ohio State at 4–1 and scored twice, but then re-injured his foot the next week against Minnesota. Iowa was top-ranked nationally when they came into Ohio Stadium favored to end the longest home winning streak in the country, and were the first #1 team the Buckeyes faced since Purdue in 1968. Ohio State's defense dominated with four interceptions to win 22–13.

In 1986 Bruce received a 3-year contract, the first for the modern program but the team opened with two losses, which had not occurred in over 90 years. The Buckeyes then won 9 in a row before Michigan took a close game when kicker Matt Frantz missed a field goal with a minute to play. After the season Bruce was offered the position of head coach at the University of Arizona with a 5-year contract but was persuaded to stay at his alma mater by Athletic Director Rick Bay. Hopes for a standout season in 1987 suffered a serious setback when All-American wide receiver Cris Carter was dropped from the team for signing with an agent. Indiana defeated Ohio State for the first time since 1951, 31–10, in a game that came to be known as the "darkest day", and Ohio State lost three conference games in a row going into the Michigan game.

On the Monday of Michigan week, after a weekend of rumors and speculation, Ohio State President Edward Jennings fired Bruce but tried to keep the dismissal secret until after the end of the season. Bay, who had been instrumental in keeping Bruce at Ohio State, disregarded Jennings' orders and announced the firing and his own resignation in protest. Jennings made his own situation worse by refusing to give a reason for the firing and the circumstances have been the subject of controversy since.[23] The Buckeyes enjoyed an emotional come-from-behind victory over Michigan in Ann Arbor after the entire team wore headbands bearing the word "EARLE", then declined an invitation to play in the Sun Bowl.

John Cooper (1988–2000)Edit

John Cooper was hired as the 21st football head coach at Ohio State before the end of 1987 and before he had coached his last game at Arizona State University. Cooper's coaching record at ASU and at Tulsa prior to that stood out among his credentials, as did a victory over Michigan in the 1987 Rose Bowl.

Cooper's thirteen years as Buckeye head coach are largely remembered in the litany of negative statistics associated with him: a notorious 2–10–1 record against Michigan, a 3–8 record in bowl games, a 5-year losing streak to Illinois to start his term and a 6–7 record overall, and blowing a 15-point 3rd quarter lead in a 28–24 loss to unranked Michigan State when the Buckeyes were the top-ranked team in the nation and en route to a national championship. However his record also has many positives: back-to-back victories over Notre Dame, two finishes second-ranked in the polls, and three Big Ten championships (albeit shared). Cooper also recruited 15 players who were first-round draft picks in the National Football League.[24]

Both 1988 and 1989 began identically: an impressive season-opening win followed by an embarrassing loss to a highly regarded team (Pitt and USC); a rebound win against two other highly regarded programs (LSU and Boston College) followed by a loss to Illinois in the conference opener. However 1988 saw Ohio State lose its first three conference games and a close game at home against Michigan for a 4–6–1 record, its first losing season in 22 years. In 1989 the Buckeyes won 6 consecutive Big Ten games before losing its last two to go 8–4. The most noteworthy victory occurred in Minneapolis when Ohio State overcame a 31–0 deficit to Minnesota to win 41–37.

1990 continued the pattern with a 2-win 2-loss start and an overall 7–4–1 record that included an embarrassing loss to Air Force in the Liberty Bowl. 1991 was 8–4, notable primarily as the season that sophomore running back Robert Smith quit the team. 1992, with senior Kirk Herbstreit at quarterback, and Smith back on the team was 8–3–1, but the losing string to Michigan was broken with a 13–13 tie. Persistent rumors that Cooper would resign or be fired were laid to rest when University President Gordon Gee announced he would be back in 1993.[25]

Former Buckeyes RB Eddie George, who won the 1995 Heisman Trophy.

The next 6 seasons were very successful, winning ten or more games in 5 of the 6 and sharing the conference championship in three. Eddie George won the Heisman Trophy in 1995 after a tremendous senior season, Ohio State defeated Notre Dame in 1995 and 1996, and won half its bowl games. But in three seasons (1993, 1995, and 1996) the Buckeyes entered the Michigan game undefeated, with the possibility of a national championship in at least one, and lost all three to underdog Wolverine teams. Ohio State had won 62 games and lost only 12, but a third of those were to Michigan.

After renewing his contract and becoming a member of the "million dollar coaching club",[26] Cooper started sophomore Austin Moherman against the Miami Hurricanes in the nationally televised Kickoff Classic and was soundly beaten. That presaged a mediocre season in which the Buckeyes finished 6–6, ending their successful 90's run. The 2000 team was more successful, going 8–4, but criticism of Cooper among fans had risen to a clamor again and touched on many areas of the program beyond specific game records. The negative publicity rose to a peak in the days leading up to Ohio State's matchup with South Carolina in the Outback Bowl, when wide receiver Reggie Germany was suspended for having a 0.0 GPA, team captain Matt Wilhelm publicly criticized fellow player Ken-Yon Rambo, and one Buckeye lineman sued another.[27]

In January 2001, Cooper was fired. His loss in the Outback Bowl to a team that had not even won a single game the year before was a factor in his subsequent firing, as was negative publicity regarding player behavior before and during the game. Other contributing factors included the record against Michigan (which was actually considered by most people to be the biggest reason for his firing), a reputation of inability to win "big games", the lack of a national championship, the perception of him as an outsider by many alumni, the poor bowl game record, and finally a perceived lack of discipline on the team.

Jim Tressel (2001–2010)Edit

Former head coach Jim Tressel, who led the Buckeyes to the 2002 national championship, and six Big Ten titles.

Ohio State quickly sought a replacement for Cooper and after a nationwide search hired Jim Tressel. With four NCAA Division I-AA National Championships at Youngstown State University, Tressel, formerly an assistant coach for Earle Bruce, was an Ohioan who was considered to be appreciative of Buckeye football traditions. Although there were some doubts as to whether or not Tressel could repeat his earlier success at the Division 1A level, most fans and alumni met the coaching change with enthusiasm. On the day of his hiring, Jim Tressel, speaking to fans and students at a Buckeye basketball game, made a prophetic implication that he would lead the Buckeyes to beat Michigan in Ann Arbor the following November.[28]

Tressel's first season was difficult as the Buckeyes finished 7–5 (all but one loss was by a touchdown or less), but he made good on his promise, beating Michigan in Ann Arbor. While its fans were optimistic about the chance for success of the 2002 team, most observers were surprised by Ohio State's National Championship.[29][30] Ohio State used strong defense, ball-control play-calling, and field position tactics to win numerous close games, a style of play characterized as "Tresselball",[31] and disparaged by detractors as "the Luckeyes".[32] The 2006 and 2007 regular seasons ended with just one combined loss and consecutive appearances in the national championship game. The Buckeyes lost both by wide margins. On January 1, 2010, the Buckeyes defeated the Oregon Ducks in The Rose Bowl Game by a score of 26–17. This ended a 3-game BCS losing streak for Ohio State, having lost 2 national championships and one Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Terrelle Pryor was named MVP of the contest with 2 touchdown passes for a career-high 266 passing yards. In addition, he had more total yards than the entire Oregon Ducks team.

Former Buckeyes QB Troy Smith (shown as a member of the NFL's Baltimore Ravens), the 2006 Heisman Trophy winner

In December 2010 it was announced that five student-athletes on the football team would be suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for NCAA violations. The punishments stemmed from an incident when some of the Buckeye players received tattoos for their autographs, according to news reports. Other violations committed by the players included the selling of several items given to them by the University, such as Big Ten championship rings.[33]

On January 4, 2011, Ohio State completed its season with a 31–26 win over Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl. The Sugar Bowl win would have marked Ohio State's first bowl victory over a Southeastern Conference opponent in ten attempts, but the win was later vacated due to NCAA violations. Ohio State ended up with an 0–1 record (the lone loss from the Wisconsin Badgers) for the 2010 season after vacating its wins for NCAA violations.


On December 22, 2010, the NCAA announced that five players would be suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season due to receiving improper benefits. Mike Adams, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, Solomon Thomas, and quarterback Terrelle Pryor were found to have signed autographs in return for tattoos, as well as selling memorabilia given to them by the university. In addition, Jordan Whiting was suspended for the season opener for his involvement. The scandal originated at Fine Line Tattoos and Piercings in Columbus whose owner, Edward Rife, was being investigated for felony drug trafficking. On January 4, 2011, with all the players allowed to participate by the NCAA, the Buckeyes defeated the Arkansas Razorbacks in the Sugar Bowl by a margin of 31–26.[34] The win along with every other one from the 2010 season would later be vacated due to the scandal. The Buckeyes finished the season 0–1, with their only official game being a loss to Wisconsin.

On March 8, 2011, OSU suspended head coach Jim Tressel for the first 2 games of the 2011 season and fined him $250,000 for not informing the university and the NCAA that he had knowledge of his players receiving improper benefits. Coach Tressel's suspension would later be increased to 5 games by the university. On May 30, 2011 Jim Tressel resigned as head coach of the Buckeyes.[35]

On June 6, 2011, a story in Sports Illustrated reported that at least 28 players, including Rob Rose, T. J. Downing, Louis Irizarry, Chris Vance, C. J. Barnett, Dorien Bell, Jamaal Berry, Bo DeLande, Zach Domicone, Storm Klein, Etienne Sabino, John Simon, Nathan Williams, Jermale Hines, Devon Torrence, Donald Washington, Thaddeus Gibson, Jermil Martin, Lamaar Thomas, and Doug Worthington traded team memorabilia or used equipment for tattoos or other merchandise or services between 2002 and 2010. The report alleged that Tressel had violated NCAA bylaw 10.1 – unethical conduct, three times by not acting when told of the tattoo improprieties, by signing a statement saying he knew of no violations, and for withholding information on what was going on from university officials.[36]

Luke Fickell (2011)Edit

On July 8, 2011, Ohio State University decided to vacate all victories from the 2010 football season as self-imposed punishment for major NCAA violations.[37] Former coach Jim Tressel received more than $52,000 from the university and won't have to pay a $250,000 fine for his involvement in the scandal. His status is also changed from 'Resigned' to "Retired" in keeping with his wishes to "remain a Buckeye for life."[38] Ohio State named Luke Fickell interim head coach for the 2011 season following Tressel's resignation, and Fickell coached the 2011 Buckeyes to a 6–7 record; going 6–6 in the regular season and losing in the Gator Bowl to Florida.

Urban Meyer (2012–2018)Edit

Former head coach Urban Meyer, who led the Buckeyes to seven division titles, three Big 10 Championships, the 2014 national championship, and the team's all-time record winning streak (24).
The logo for the 2014 National Champion Buckeyes, which celebrated the football program's 125th anniversary.

On November 28, 2011, former University of Florida head coach and ESPN college football analyst Urban Meyer accepted the position of Buckeyes head coach.[39] Meyer assumed head coaching responsibilities following the Buckeyes' January 2012 Gator Bowl appearance. Meyer's first season at Ohio State did not include a postseason contest, as the Buckeyes were sanctioned with a one-year bowl ban on December 20, 2011. The NCAA sanctions also included the loss of three scholarships each year for the following three years and three years' probation to end on December 19, 2014. Ohio State was required to vacate all wins from the 2010 season, the 2010 Big Ten Conference championship and their win in the 2011 Sugar Bowl. The school's share of the Sugar Bowl proceeds were forfeited as well.[9]

In Meyer's first year, the Buckeyes went a perfect 12–0, winning the 2012 Big Ten Leaders Division, though the previously mentioned sanctions kept them from playing in the 2012 Big Ten Football Championship Game and a postseason bowl game.[9]

The Buckeyes played their 2013 Spring game at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, home of the Bengals on April 13, 2013.[40][41] The Scarlet won 31–14.

On November 23, 2013, the Buckeyes clinched their second straight Leaders Division Championship, after defeating Indiana 42–14. With the victory over Indiana, Ohio State set a team record for all-time consecutive wins, with 23. The following week, Ohio State defeated Michigan 42–41 in Ann Arbor, to increase the streak to 24. The streak ended with Ohio State's 34–24 loss to Michigan State in the 2013 Big 10 Conference Championship game on December 7, marking Meyer's first loss as the Buckeyes' head coach. On January 3, 2014, the Buckeyes were defeated by Clemson in the Orange Bowl 40–35.

On November 22, 2014, the Buckeyes clinched the first ever Big Ten East Division Championship when they defeated Indiana 42–27, earning a berth in the 2014 Big Ten Championship Game, where they defeated West Division champion Wisconsin 59–0 to win the Big Ten Conference Championship and qualified for the four-team playoff to decide the National Champion. OSU defeated Alabama in the Sugar Bowl 42–35, on January 1, 2015, to qualify for the National Championship Game against Rose Bowl winner Oregon on January 12 (the Rose and Sugar Bowls were the designated semifinal games in 2014). OSU claimed the first ever College Football Playoff National Championship by defeating Oregon 42–20.[10][42][43]

The 2015 season for the Buckeyes began with a 10–0 start before losing on a last second field goal to Michigan State on November 21, ending the Buckeyes quest to repeat as National Champions. However, the Buckeyes recovered their 2 next games with dominating wins over Michigan and then over Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl to finish the season at 12–1.

The 2016 season started off great with 6 straight victories, including a win over the Oklahoma Sooners. That win streak came to an end as the team lost a heart-breaker to the Penn State Nittany Lions. The Buckeyes would win the rest of their regular season games going 11-1. They would not play in the Big Ten Championship as Penn State took the division. In a controversial call, the College Football Playoff committee would give Ohio State a spot in the Playoff. Ohio State would then lose in the Fiesta Bowl to the Clemson Tigers in an embarrassing 31-0 loss, ending the season 11-2.

The 2017 season started out on a high note with a victory over the Indiana Hoosiers, but the Buckeyes would then fall short to the Oklahoma Sooners the next week. The Buckeyes would win the next 6 games of the season, including a win over a Penn State team that was ranked number 2 in the nation in a revenge game of sorts. However, the Buckeyes suffered an embarrassing defeat against the Iowa Hawkeyes. The Buckeyes would end the season 12-2 overall, winning out the rest of their games including a Big Ten Championship victory over Wisconsin and a Cotton Bowl victory over USC.

Urban Meyer was suspended for the first three games of the 2018 season for mishandling domestic violence allegations against then-wide receivers coach Zach Smith. Co-Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day served as interim coach and led the Buckeyes to a 3-0 start. Meyer returned to the sidelines and coached the team to four more victories before the team suffered a loss on October 20 to Purdue, 49-20. The Buckeyes won their last four games of the regular season, including a 62-39 win over archival Michigan, in Columbus. The win gave the Buckeyes a share of the Big Ten East Division title, and the right to face Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship Game, which Ohio State won for its second consecutive Big Ten Championship.

Ryan Day (2019–present)Edit

On December 4, 2018, the university announced that Meyer would retire after the 2019 Rose Bowl and be replaced by co-offensive coordinator Ryan Day.[44][45] Ohio State would go on to win over Pac-12 Champion Washington 28-23, giving Ohio State their 8th Rose Bowl win.


National championshipsEdit

The following is a list of Ohio State's national championships as recognized by both the university and the NCAA:

Year Head Coach Selector Record Big Ten Record Bowl
1942 Paul Brown AP 9–1 6–1
1954 Woody Hayes AP 10–0 7–0 Won Rose Bowl
1957 Woody Hayes FWAA, UPI (Coaches) 9–1 7–0 Won Rose Bowl
1961 Woody Hayes FWAA 8–0–1 6–0
1968 Woody Hayes AP, FWAA, NFF, UPI (Coaches) 10–0 7–0 Won Rose Bowl
1970 Woody Hayes NFF 9–1 7–0 Lost Rose Bowl
2002 Jim Tressel BCS, AP, USA Today/ESPN (Coaches), NFF, FWAA 14–0 8–0 Won Fiesta Bowl
2014 Urban Meyer CFP, AP, USA Today/Amway (Coaches), NFF 14–1 8–0 Won Sugar Bowl (CFP semifinal)
Won CFP National Championship

Undefeated seasonsEdit

Year Record Big Ten Record Head Coach
1899 9–0–1 John B. Eckstorm
1916 7–0 4–0 John Wilce
1917 8–0–1 4–0 John Wilce
1944 9–0 6–0 Carroll Widdoes
1954 10–0 7–0 Woody Hayes
1961 8–0–1 6–0 Woody Hayes
1968 10–0 7–0 Woody Hayes
1973 10–0–1 7–0–1 Woody Hayes
2002 14–0 8–0 Jim Tressel
2012 12–0 8–0 Urban Meyer

Conference championshipsEdit

Ohio State joined the Big Ten in 1912; before that they were a member of the Ohio Athletic Conference and won two OAC titles. Ohio State has won a championship in the Big Ten 37 times, second most in the conference and third most conference titles of any school in any conference.[46]

Year Conference Coach Record Conference Record
1906 OAC Albert E. Herrnstein 8–1 4–0
1912 OAC John Richards 6–3 4–0
1916 Big Ten John Wilce 7–0 4–0
1917 Big Ten John Wilce 8–0–1 4–0
1920 Big Ten John Wilce 7–1 5–0
1935 Big Ten Francis Schmidt 7–1 5–0
1939 Big Ten Francis Schmidt 6–2 5–1
1942 Big Ten Paul Brown 9–1 5–1
1944 Big Ten Carroll Widdoes 9–0 6–0
1949 Big Ten Wes Fesler 7–1–2 4–1–1
1954 Big Ten Woody Hayes 10–0 7–0
1955 Big Ten Woody Hayes 7–2 6–0
1957 Big Ten Woody Hayes 9–1 7–0
1961 Big Ten Woody Hayes 8–0–1 6–0
1968 Big Ten Woody Hayes 10–0 7–0
1969 Big Ten Woody Hayes 8–1 6–1
1970 Big Ten Woody Hayes 9–1 7–0
1972 Big Ten Woody Hayes 9–2 7–1
1973 Big Ten Woody Hayes 10–0–1 7–0–1
1974 Big Ten Woody Hayes 10–2 7–1
1975 Big Ten Woody Hayes 11–1 8–0
1976 Big Ten Woody Hayes 9–2–1 7–1
1977 Big Ten Woody Hayes 9–3 6–2
1979 Big Ten Earle Bruce 11–1 8–0
1981 Big Ten Earle Bruce 9–3 6–2
1984 Big Ten Earle Bruce 9–3 7–2
1986 Big Ten Earle Bruce 10–3 7–1
1993 Big Ten John Cooper 10–1–1 6–1–1
1996 Big Ten John Cooper 11–1 7–1
1998 Big Ten John Cooper 11–1 7–1
2002 Big Ten Jim Tressel 14–0 8–0
2005 Big Ten Jim Tressel 10–2 7–1
2006 Big Ten Jim Tressel 12–1 8–0
2007 Big Ten Jim Tressel 11–2 7–1
2008 Big Ten Jim Tressel 10–3 7–1
2009 Big Ten Jim Tressel 11–2 7–1
2014 Big Ten Urban Meyer 14–1 8–0
2017 Big Ten Urban Meyer 12–2 8–1
2018 Big Ten Urban Meyer 13–1 8–1

† Co-champions

Divisional championshipsEdit

Since 2011, Big Ten has moved to divisions to ultimately decide who would play for the conference championship. The divisions were known as Legends and Leaders from 2011 to 2013. In 2014, the divisions were realigned geographically into East and West.

Year Division Coach Opponent CG Result
2012 Big Ten Leaders Urban Meyer N/A – Ineligible (postseason ban)
2013 Big Ten Leaders Urban Meyer Michigan State L 24–34
2014 Big Ten East Urban Meyer Wisconsin W 59–0
2015 Big Ten East Urban Meyer N/A lost tiebreaker to Michigan State
2016 Big Ten East Urban Meyer N/A lost tiebreaker to Penn State
2017 Big Ten East Urban Meyer Wisconsin W 27–21
2018 Big Ten East Urban Meyer Northwestern W 45–24

† Co-champions

Bowl gamesEdit

Ohio State has appeared in 50 bowl games earning a 25–25 record through the 2018 season.[47]

Season Coach Bowl Opponent Result
1920 John Wilce Rose Bowl California L 0–28
1949 Wes Fesler Rose Bowl California W 17–14
1954 Woody Hayes Rose Bowl USC W 20–7
1957 Woody Hayes Rose Bowl Oregon W 10–7
1968 Woody Hayes Rose Bowl USC W 27–16
1970 Woody Hayes Rose Bowl Stanford L 17–27
1972 Woody Hayes Rose Bowl USC L 17–42
1973 Woody Hayes Rose Bowl USC W 42–21
1974 Woody Hayes Rose Bowl USC L 17–18
1975 Woody Hayes Rose Bowl UCLA L 10–23
1976 Woody Hayes Orange Bowl Colorado W 27–10
1977 Woody Hayes Sugar Bowl Alabama L 6–35
1978 Woody Hayes Gator Bowl Clemson L 15–17
1979 Earle Bruce Rose Bowl USC L 16–17
1980 Earle Bruce Fiesta Bowl Penn State L 19–31
1981 Earle Bruce Liberty Bowl Navy W 31–28
1982 Earle Bruce Holiday Bowl BYU W 47–17
1983 Earle Bruce Fiesta Bowl Pittsburgh W 28–23
1984 Earle Bruce Rose Bowl USC L 17–20
1985 Earle Bruce Citrus Bowl BYU W 10–7
1986 Earle Bruce Cotton Bowl Classic Texas A&M W 28–12
1989 John Cooper Hall of Fame Bowl Auburn L 14–31
1990 John Cooper Liberty Bowl Air Force L 11–23
1991 John Cooper Hall of Fame Bowl Syracuse L 17–24
1992 John Cooper Florida Citrus Bowl Georgia L 14–21
1993 John Cooper Holiday Bowl BYU W 28–21
1994 John Cooper Florida Citrus Bowl Alabama L 17–24
1995 John Cooper Florida Citrus Bowl Tennessee L 14–20
1996 John Cooper Rose Bowl Arizona State W 20–17
1997 John Cooper Sugar Bowl Florida State L 14–31
1998 John Cooper Sugar Bowl Texas A&M W 24–14
2000 John Cooper Outback Bowl South Carolina L 7–24
2001 Jim Tressel Outback Bowl South Carolina L 28–31
2002 Jim Tressel Fiesta Bowl Miami (FL) W 31–24
2003 Jim Tressel Fiesta Bowl Kansas State W 35–28
2004 Jim Tressel Alamo Bowl Oklahoma State W 33–7
2005 Jim Tressel Fiesta Bowl Notre Dame W 34–20
2006 Jim Tressel BCS National Championship Game Florida L 14–41
2007 Jim Tressel BCS National Championship Game LSU L 24–38
2008 Jim Tressel Fiesta Bowl Texas L 21–24
2009 Jim Tressel Rose Bowl Oregon W 26–17
2010 Jim Tressel Sugar Bowl Arkansas W 31–26
2011 Luke Fickell Gator Bowl Florida L 17–24
2013 Urban Meyer Orange Bowl Clemson L 35–40
2014 Urban Meyer Sugar Bowl Alabama W 42–35
2014 Urban Meyer CFP National Championship Oregon W 42–20
2015 Urban Meyer Fiesta Bowl Notre Dame W 44–28
2016 Urban Meyer Fiesta Bowl Clemson L 0–31
2017 Urban Meyer Cotton Bowl Classic USC W 24–7
2018 Urban Meyer Rose Bowl Washington W 28–23


Home venuesEdit


Ohio State football is rich in traditions.[48][49] The following are football traditions in chronological order of longevity:

  • Senior tackle

Begun in 1913 by head coach John Wilce, seniors on the team are recognized at the last practice of the season, either before the Michigan game or before departing Columbus to play in a bowl game, and hit the blocking sled a final time.[50]

The Illibuck Trophy was established in 1925.

The winner of the Ohio State-Illinois game has been awarded the Illibuck Trophy since 1925.[50] Until 1927 the teams played for a live turtle, however, since the 1928 season the trophy is a carved wooden likeness of a turtle.

  • Gold pants

A gold miniature charm depicting a pair of football pants is given to all players and coaches following a victory over the Michigan Wolverines. The tradition began as the result of a comment to reporters by newly hired head coach Francis Schmidt on March 2, 1934: "How about Michigan? They put their pants on one leg at a time, the same as we do!" The first gold pants, which were a creation of Simon Lazarus (president of the Lazarus chain of department stores) and Herbert Levy,[51] were awarded that year for a 34–0 defeat of the Wolverines.[52]

  • Captain's Breakfast

1934 also saw the first gathering of former team captains for breakfast on the Sunday following the Homecoming game. The event began when local businessman Walter Jeffrey invited twenty former captains to the Scioto Country Club to honor them, and continues to welcome new captains and award them mugs bearing their names and season.[50][53]

  • Buckeye Grove

Begun in 1934, each player who wins "first-team All-America" honors is recognized by the planting of a buckeye tree and installation of a plaque in Buckeye Grove, now located near the southwestern corner of Ohio Stadium next to Morrill Tower. Trees are planted in ceremonies held prior to the Spring Game. All 126 Buckeye All-Americans dating back to 1914 have been so honored.

  • Michigan Week

Since 1935 the annual game against Michigan (known as "that team up north" for Ohio State fans) has been the final meeting of the regular season for both teams. The week prior to "The Game", known as Michigan Week, is characterized by scheduled school spirit and public service events, such as rallies, touch football games, and blood drives;[54] and by massive displays of school colors and banners in much of Ohio. In an unofficial culmination to Michigan Week, since 1990 on the Thursday night before "The Game" students have participated in the "Mirror Lake jump", an unofficial gathering at Mirror Lake, a pond between Pomerene Hall and The Oval, in which masses of students jump into the water.[55] A newer tradition which began in the 2010s has been to use tape to put an "X" over every letter M as possible on campus during the week of "The Game" (this ritual has also been used elsewhere across the state as well).

  • Block O
    Block O in a game in the south stands

Since 1938 the registered student organization Block O has been the "Official Cheering Section" of the Buckeyes. "Known for spreading spirit, starting cheers and performing card stunts, Block 'O' was Clancy Isaac ."[56] They occupy Section 39A in the South grandstand of Ohio Stadium, next to the band.[57][58]

  • Victory Bell

The Victory Bell is rung after every Ohio State victory by members of Alpha Phi Omega, a tradition that began after the Bucks beat California October 2, 1954. Reputedly the ringing can be heard five miles away "on a calm day." Located 150 feet high in the southeast tower of Ohio Stadium, the bell was a gift of the classes of 1943, 1944 and 1945, and weighs 2,420 pounds.[50] The bell is rung for 15 minutes following a victory and for 30 minutes following a victory over Michigan.

Brutus Buckeye – OSU's mascot.

Beginning in 1965, Brutus Buckeye has appeared at all Ohio State football games as the live mascot of the Buckeyes. In 2007 he was inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame and is now one of the most recognized mascots in the United States.

  • Hang on Sloopy

First played at the Illinois game of October 9, 1965, the rock song Hang on Sloopy is now played by the marching band before the start of the fourth quarter, with fans performing an O-H-I-O chant in the intervals between the refrains. The song is also played to encourage the team's defensive players when opponents are moving the ball on offense late in a game. The 116th Ohio General Assembly designated "Hang On Sloopy" as the State rock song by House Concurrent Resolution 16 on November 20, 1985. It is also played before the fourth quarter at Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals games, as well as during Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Columbus Blue Jackets games.[50]

  • Buckeye Leaves

Since 1967, the helmets of Ohio State players have been adorned with white decals approximately the size of a quarter depicting a buckeye leaf, awarded for making significant plays and for consistency of performance.[50] In the 1970s, the decals were approximately the size of a Silver Dollar until the 1979 Season. Most believe that this practice began in 1968 when the Buckeyes switched to their present Silver Helmet design since the decals have become identified with that helmet.

  • Mirror Lake

Since 1990 as part of Michigan Week, OSU students typically jump into Mirror Lake – located on campus – the Thursday night before the game. The tradition is thought to bring good luck to the football team for the game.[59] Since the 2010 season, the Thursday before "The Game" has been Thanksgiving. With most of the student body leaving campus for the holiday, the jump has since occurred on the Tuesday of Michigan Week.[60] However, on November 25, 2015 a student by the name of Austin Singltary participated in the Mirror Lake Jump and while doing so he broke his C-5 vertabrae. Shortly after midnight, Austin was found underwater after the jump had ended. He was then taken to The Wexner Center a very short distance away on campus and was then pronounced deceased. Initial reports claimed that Singltary passed due to cardiac arrest due to the typical temperature of the water in late November, however after an autopsy was completed it was determined the broken neck was the actual reason behind his death.[61] Due to the death, along with a whole slue of various past injuries, the college decided the jump should stop and began to "come up with something new" with the student body to assume a new tradition for the Michigan week Mirror Lake jump. Shortly after this, the water was pumped out of the lake, ending any chance of a future jump. In 2018, it was decided to once again put water in the lake, add seating, and Wi-Fi access, but made the water depth very shallow to thwart jumps, and also made it able to pump all water out in less then a hour if needed to do so.[62]

  • Tunnel of Pride

The Tunnel of Pride began with the 1994 Michigan game when all former players who were in attendance formed a tunnel through which the team ran to take the field, and Ohio State beat its rival that day, 22–6. Rex Kern, quarterback of the 1968 National Championship team, and then Director of Athletics Andy Geiger together used the concept as a means of connecting current Buckeyes with those who played before them. The Tunnel of Pride was next formed for the 1995 Notre Dame game, which the Buckeyes also won. In each home game against Michigan since, the tradition has been repeated.[50][63]

  • Carmen Ohio

Instituted by Coach Tressel in 2001, at the conclusion of all home games the coaches, players and cheerleaders gather in the south end zone next to the marching band to sing the university's alma mater, Carmen Ohio, to the student section.[64]

  • The Hive and pre-game circle

Tressel brought to the Buckeye football program two pre-game traditions he developed at Youngstown State. Prior to its warmup routine before every football game, the team exits the locker room as a unit in a controlled manner, linked arm-in-arm in a group known as "The Hive". After warmups the team returns to the locker room, and when it next appears, runs onto the field and forms a circle of players around the strength coach, then they go through their warmup routine.[65]

Marching bandEdit

Script Ohio

The Marching Band, often referred to as "The Best Damn Band In The Land" or by the acronym TBDBITL[66] is the most visible and possibly best-known tradition of Ohio State football.[67] Home games are preceded by three much-anticipated traditions, and a fourth, "dotting the 'i'" of Script Ohio, enjoys a reputation all its own:[50]


While its rivalry with the University of Michigan is its most renowned and intense, Ohio State has two other series marked by their longevity, both Big Ten Conference rivals, those of Indiana and Illinois. The series versus Indiana began as a non-conference matchup, with Indiana going undefeated at 4–0–1. In conference, however, the Buckeyes (despite losing the opening conference game) are 70–8–4 through the 2014 season, the most wins against any opponent. Illinois also began with non-conference games (0–1–1) but became the longest continuous series in 2002 when the schools played in their 89th consecutive year (that record was tied by Michigan in 2007). Through 2014 Ohio State's record against the Illini is 66–30–4. In 2007, Ohio State was given their only defeat of the regular season by the Illini.

When Penn State was added to the conference football play in 1993, every member was given two designated rivals, teams to be played every year, with the other conference teams rotated out of the schedule at regular intervals. For geographic convenience, the Big Ten named Penn State as Ohio State's new designated rival in addition to Michigan, and Illinois was set to be paired with in-state rival Northwestern and neighboring Indiana, and in doing so undermined Ohio State's historical rivalry with Illinois.

With Nebraska's entry to the Big Ten and the establishment of division play in football, Ohio State and Illinois played every season in the Leaders Division from 2011 to 2013. Michigan was the Buckeyes' permanent cross-division rival from the Legends Division.

With the addition of Maryland and Rutgers to the Big Ten, Ohio State and Illinois will be in separate divisions and will no longer meet every year. Ohio State and Michigan also became East Division rivals.[68]


The Buckeyes have had 24 head coaches in their 121-year history. Of the team's eight national championships to date, Woody Hayes won five. Paul Brown, Jim Tressel, and Urban Meyer also each have one.

Current coaching staffEdit

Name Position
Ryan Day Head Coach
Defensive staff
Larry Johnson Associate Head Coach/Defensive Line
Greg Mattison Co–Defensive Coordinator
Jeff Hafley Co–Defensive Coordinator/Secondary
Matt Barnes Special Teams Coordinator/Asst. Secondary
Al Washington Linebackers
Kenny Anunike Graduate Assistant
Bob Fraser Quality Control
Matt Thurin Quality Control
Offensive staff
Kevin Wilson Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends
Mike Yurcich Passing Game Coordinator/Quarterbacks
Tony Alford Assistant Head Coach for Offense/Running Backs
Brian Hartline Wide Receivers
Greg Studrawa Offensive Line
Corey Dennis Senior Quality Control
Keenan Bailey Graduate Assistant
Tim Hinton Executive Director for Football Operations & Special Assistant to Ryan Day
Mickey Marotti Asst. Athletic Director/Director of Football – (Strength & Conditioning)
Parker Fleming Quality Control (Kicking)

All-time recordsEdit

All-time Big Ten recordsEdit

This table reflects the results of Big Ten match-ups when both OSU and its opponent were members of the conference. Ohio State began Big Ten play in 1913. Examples of excluded results are Chicago after 1939, Michigan between 1907–1916, Michigan State before 1953, Penn State before 1993, and Nebraska before 2011 (see Big Ten History for further information). Ohio State's vacated wins from 2010 are NOT included (see 2010 Ohio State Buckeyes football team for further information).

Updated through November 20, 2017 of the 2017 NCAA Division I FBS football season.

Team Big Ten
Big Ten
Big Ten
Streak First Big Ten
Chicago Maroons 10 2 2 .786 Won 8 1920 1939
Illinois Fighting Illini 68 30 3 .688 Won 8 1914 2017
Indiana Hoosiers 75 8 4 .885 Won 24 1913 2019
Iowa Hawkeyes 46 15 3 .742 Lost 1 1922 2017
Maryland Terrapins 5 0 0 1.000 Won 5 2014 2018
Michigan Wolverines 50 58 6 .465 Won 7 1918 2018
Michigan State Spartans 31 13 0 .705 Won 2 1953 2018
Minnesota Golden Gophers 44 7 0 .863 Won 10 1921 2018
Nebraska Cornhuskers 3 1 0 .750 Won 3 2011 2018
Northwestern Wildcats 62 14 1 .812 Won 7 1913 2018
Penn State Nittany Lions 17 8 0 .680 Won 2 1993 2018
Purdue Boilermakers 39 15 2 .714 Lost 1 1919 2018
Rutgers Scarlet Knights 5 0 0 1.000 Won 5 2014 2018
Wisconsin Badgers 59[69] 18 5 .750 Won 6 1913 2017
510 176 24 .735

All Data from College Football Data Warehouse[70][failed verification]

Individual awards and achievementsEdit

Through the 2006 season Ohio State players have by a significant margin won more trophies than any other NCAA Division 1A program. Ohio State players have won 34 of the listed major awards, with the next closest being 26 (Oklahoma). Ohio State is the only university to have received each of the awards at least once. Of the five awards created prior to 1980 (Heisman, Lombardi, Maxwell, Outland, and Walter Camp), Ohio State has received the most with 25 (Notre Dame follows with 23).

Retired numbersEdit

No. Player Position Tenure
10 Troy Smith QB 2003–06
22 Les Horvath RB, QB 1940–42, 1944
27 Eddie George RB 1992–95
31 Vic Janowicz HB 1949–51
40 Howard "Hopalong" Cassady HB 1952–55
45 Archie Griffin RB 1972–75
47 Chic Harley HB QB, E, K 1916–17, 1919
99 Bill Willis DL 1942–44

Note - #10 and all future numbers are to be considered enshrined rather than retired, and will still be available to be worn. All previously retired jersey numbers will remain retired.[71]

Honored coachesEdit

Two head coaches have also been honored by the Buckeyes, with banners at Ohio Stadium:

  • Paul Brown (1941-1943) - led OSU to the 1942 National Championship (OSU's first title)
  • Woody Hayes (1951-1978) - led OSU to five National Championships (1954, 1957, 1961, 1968, 1970), 13 Big Ten Championships, and a school record of 205 wins

Heisman Trophy winnersEdit

Ohio State players have won the Heisman Trophy seven times, which ties Notre Dame (7) for the most awards for any school. Archie Griffin is the only two-time recipient in the history of the award.[citation needed]

Season Name Pos. Class Points
1944 Les Horvath QB / RB Senior 412
1950 Vic Janowicz RB Junior 633
1955 Howard "Hopalong" Cassady RB Senior 2219
1974 Archie Griffin RB Junior 1920
1975 Archie Griffin RB Senior 1800
1995 Eddie George RB Senior 1460
2006 Troy Smith QB Senior 2540
Lombardi Award

Ohio State players have won the Lombardi Award six times:

Maxwell Award

Four Ohio State players have won the Maxwell Award:

Outland Trophy

Four Ohio State players have won the Outland Trophy:

Walter Camp Award

Ohio State players have won the Walter Camp Award four times:

Dick Butkus Award

Ohio State players have won the Dick Butkus Award twice:

Jim Thorpe Award

Ohio State players have won the Jim Thorpe Award twice:

Dave Rimington Trophy

Ohio State players have won the Dave Rimington Trophy three times:

Other awards

All-American and All-Conference honorsEdit

Through 2017, 199 Buckeyes have been named first team All-Americans since 1914. Of those 85 have been consensus picks. 388 have been named to the All-Big Ten team, and 16 have won the Chicago Tribune Silver Football, the Big Ten's Most Valuable Player award, including Troy Smith for 2006. The Athletic Directors of the Big Ten Conference voted Eddie George Big Ten-Jesse Owens Athlete of the Year for 1996.

On November 22, 2006, ten Buckeyes were named to either the Coaches or Conference media All-Big Ten First Team selections for the 2006 season, and seven were named to both. Troy Smith was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. Four other Buckeyes received Second Team honors.

List of All-AmericansEdit

All records per OSU Athletics.[72][when?]

  • 1914: Boyd Cherry (E)
  • 1916: Chic Harley (B), Robert Karch (T)
  • 1917: Charles Bolen (E), Harold Courtney (E), Chic Harley (B), Kelley VanDyne (C)
  • 1918: Clarence MacDonald (E)
  • 1919: Chic Harley (B), Gaylord Stinchcomb (B)
  • 1920: Iolas Huffman (G), Gaylord Stinchcomb (B)
  • 1921: Iolas Huffman (G), Cyril Myers (E)
  • 1923: Harry Workman (QB)
  • 1924: Harold Cunningham (E)
  • 1925: Edwin Hess (G)
  • 1926: Edwin Hess (G), Marty Karow (HB), Leo Raskowski (T)
  • 1927: Leo Raskowski (T)
  • 1928: Wes Fesler (E)
  • 1929: Wes Fesler (E)
  • 1930: Wes Fesler (E), Lew Hinchman (HB)
  • 1931: Carl Cramer (QB), Lew Hinchman (HB)
  • 1932: Joseph Gailus (G), Sid Gillman (E), Lew Hinchman (HB), Ted Rosequist (T)
  • 1933: Joseph Gailus (G)
  • 1934: Regis Monahan (G), Merle Wendt (E)
  • 1935: Gomer Jones (C), Merle Wendt (E)
  • 1936: Charles Hamrick (T), Inwood Smith (G), Merle Wendt (E)
  • 1937: Carl Kaplanoff (T), Jim McDonald (QB), Ralph Wolf (C), Gust Zarnas (G)
  • 1939: Vic Marino (G), Esco Sarkkinen (E), Don Scott (HB)

Team MVPEdit

1930: Wes Fesler – (E) – Big Ten MVP
1931: Robert Haubrich – (OT)
1932: Lew Hinchman – (HB)
1933: Mickey Vuchinich – (FB)
1934: Gomer Jones – (C)
1935: Gomer Jones – (C)
1936: Ralph Wolf – (C)
1937: Ralph Wolf – (C)
1938: Jim Langhurst – (FB)
1939: Steve Andrako – (C)
1940: Don Scott – (QB)
1941: Jack Graf – (FB) – Big Ten MVP
1942: Chuck Csuri – (OT)
1943: Gordon Appleby – (C)
1944: Les Horvath – (QB) – Big Ten MVP
1945: Ollie Cline – (FB) – Big Ten MVP
1946: Cecil Souders – (E)
1947: Dave Templeton – (G)
1948: Joe Whisler – (FB)
1949: Jack Lininger – (C)
1950: Vic Janowicz – (HB) – Big Ten MVP
1951: Vic Janowicz – (HB)
1952: Fred Bruney – (HB)
1953: George Jacoby – (T)
1954: Howard Cassady – (HB)
1955: Howard Cassady – (HB) – Big Ten MVP
1956: Jim Parker – (G)
1957: Bill Jobko – (G)
1958: Jim Houston – (E)
1959: Jim Houston – (E)
1960: Tom Matte – (QB)
1961: Bob Ferguson – (FB)
1962: Billy Armstrong – (C)
1963: Matt Snell – (FB)
1964: Ed Orazen – (DL)
1965: Doug Van Horn – (OG)
1966: Ray Pryor – (C)
1967: Dirk Worden – (LB)
1968: Mark Stier – (LB)
1969: Jim Otis – (FB)
1970: Jim Stillwagon – (DL)
1971: Tom DeLeone – (C)
1972: George Hasenohrl – (DL)
1973: Archie Griffin – (RB) – Big Ten MVP
1974: Archie Griffin – (RB) – Big Ten MVP
1975: Cornelius Greene – (QB) – Big Ten MVP
1976: Bob Brudzinski – (DE)
1977: Dave Adkins – (LB)
1978: Tom Cousineau – (LB)
1979: Jim Laughlin – (LB)
1980: Calvin Murray – (TB)
1981: Art Schlichter – (QB) – Big Ten MVP
1982: Tim Spencer – (RB)
1983: John Frank – (TE)
1984: Keith Byars – (RB) – Big Ten MVP
1985: Jim Karsatos – (QB)
1986: Cris Carter – (WR)
1987: Chris Spielman – (LB)
1988: Jeff Uhlenhake – (C)
1989: Derek Isaman – (LB)
1990: Jeff Graham – (WR)
1991: Carlos Snow – (TB)
1992: Kirk Herbstreit – (QB)
1993: Raymont Harris – (TB)
1994: Korey Stringer – (OT)
1995: Eddie George – (TB) – Big Ten MVP
1996: Orlando Pace – (OT) – Big Ten MVP
1997: Antoine Winfield – (DB)
1998: Joe Germaine – (QB) – Big Ten MVP
1999: Ahmed Plummer – (DB)
2000: Derek Combs – (TB)
2001: Jonathan Wells – (TB)
2002: Craig Krenzel – (QB) / Chris Gamble – (WR/DB)
2003: Michael Jenkins – (WR)
2004: Mike Nugent – (PK)
2005: A. J. Hawk – (LB)
2006: Troy Smith – (QB) – Big Ten MVP
2007: Chris Wells – (TB)
2008: Chris Wells – (TB)
2009: Kurt Coleman – (SS)
2010: Dane Sanzenbacher – (WR)
2011: Daniel Herron – (TB)
2012: Braxton Miller – (QB) – Big Ten MVP
2013: Braxton Miller – (QB) – Big Ten MVP
2014: Evan Spencer – (WR)
2015: Ezekiel Elliott – (RB) – Big Ten MVP
2016: Malik Hooker – (SAF) / Pat Elflein – (C)

All-Century TeamEdit

Paul "Bear" Bryant AwardEdit

AFCA Coach of the YearEdit

Academic awards and achievementsEdit

College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-AmericaEdit

Academic All-American Hall of FameEdit

Academic All-American Player of the YearEdit

Academic All-AmericansEdit

National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of FameEdit

William V. Campbell TrophyEdit

National Scholar-Athlete AwardsEdit

Ohio State's eighteen NFF Scholar-Athlete Awards rank second only to Nebraska's twenty among all college football programs.

College Football Hall of FameEdit

Beginning with Chic Harley and Howard Jones in the 1951 inaugural class, Ohio State has had 32 former players and coaches inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.[citation needed]


The Buckeyes are covered on the radio by the Ohio State IMG Sports Network. WBNS/Columbus (1460 AM) and sister station WBNS-FM/Columbus (97.1 FM) serve as flagship stations, with more than 60 affiliates in Ohio, and two additional affiliates in West Virginia. Paul Keels is the current play-by-play announcer, while former Buckeye left guard Jim Lachey serves as color analyst. They are joined by sideline reporter Matt Andrews and Skip Mosic, host of the network pregame and halftime shows.[73]

WBNS-TV (channel 10) in Columbus is the long-standing "official TV home" of the Buckeyes, airing the official coach's show Game Time with Ryan Day (simulcast statewide on Fox Sports Ohio).[74]

In addition, Ohio State football games are broadcast by their student radio organization, Scarlet and Gray Sports Radio on

Future non-conference opponentsEdit

Announced schedules as of August 22, 2019.[75]

2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027
vs Florida Atlantic (8/31) vs Bowling Green (9/5) vs Oregon (9/11) vs Notre Dame (9/3) vs San Jose State (9/9) at Washington (09/14) at Texas (8/30) vs Texas (9/5) at Boston College (9/18)
vs Cincinnati (9/7) at Oregon (9/12) vs Tulsa (09/18) vs Arkansas State (9/10) vs Western Kentucky (9/16) vs Washington (09/13) vs Boston College (9/19)
vs Miami (OH) (9/21) vs Buffalo (9/19) vs Akron (9/25) vs Toledo (09/17) at Notre Dame (9/23)

Fan baseEdit

In 2011, New York Times reporter Nate Silver conducted a study of college football fans, and through his research determined that Ohio State has the most fans of any college football team in the country.[76]


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Further readingEdit

External linksEdit